The pullout of All India Football Federation (AIFF) from Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Hotwar and Birsa Munda Football Stadium in Morabadi put the spotlight back on the multi-crore National Games facilities in the state.
Sports infrastructure set up with around Rs 650 crore of public money for the Games could not hold on to its February 2011 shine. Of the capital's six outdoor stadiums ' two at Morabadi and four at Hotwar ' all except Morabadi's Rs 7-crore Astroturf Hockey Stadium are in bad shape.
That the Rs 135-crore Birsa athletics stadium could be deemed unfit for Fed Cup was a stinging slap. To add insult to injury, the Rs 34-crore Birsa Munda soccer arena in Morabadi was rejected too.
At a time when Jharkhand's dwindling forest cover has the green brigade annoyed, the state government would perhaps win brownie points by showcasing overgrown wild creepers, bushes and weeds in its stadiums, particularly in Hotwar.
Officials off the record snigger and dub the Rs 8 crore trap shooting range (part of Tikait Umrao Shooting Range in Hotwar) "horror house".
A year back on September 16, The Telegraph had highlighted this stadium's weedy stranglehold, defunct ammunition-loading chamber, broken doors and heavy water-logging.
State sports department had then ' and ever since then, whenever occasion arose ' parroted its famous catch phrase "immediate action". One year on, the weeds and the puddles have only grown bigger.
Jharkhand Rifle Association secretary S.M. Thakur rued that the state of the stadium kept them from hosting any well-known rifle and shooting games.
"Many events are lined up but we are unable to conduct them. The shooting facility will need at least Rs 1.5 crore for renovation and an additional Rs 50 lakh for equipment to become functional. The condition of the indoor shooting range is such that saplings that were encroaching on it are now big trees. A public tender is now needed to cut them," said he.
Equally pathetic is the Rs 13 crore Sidho Kanhu Velodrome for cycling. Forget cracks, holes have developed on tracks, the practice arena is carpeted with dense bushes and the entire stadium is slippery and slimy.
At the Rs 4-crore Albert Ekka (kho-kho) Stadium, the audience gallery has mossy floors, faded benches, etc. "Grass is a problem here. Kho-kho events need clean, firm ground. But we lack facilities such as a grass mower," said a lady deputed there.
The synthetic tracks at over Rs 100 crore Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium are damaged due to water-logging.
"Water should be mopped up and the area dusted on a daily basis. But due to lack of any agency deputed for such tasks, it cannot be maintained," said a department official. "Senior officials from the department (sports) do come for inspection, but nothing productive emerges," he added.
Deputy sports director Sarojini Lakra, who also heads Sports Authority of Jharkhand (SAJHA), under whose jurisdiction the mega sports complex lies, remained unreachable. Director S.K. Verma didn't respond to repeated calls by The Telegraph.
Sports secretary A.K. Singh maintained he couldn't talk over the phone on the issue. "We know that the stadiums are in bad shape. And what we are doing about them is something I can't discuss over phone," he said.
Tut, tut, more talk.
Will anything change for the better at Hotwar?